One of the many maddening difficulties of prostate cancer is figuring out if it will kill you, or if it will just hang around until something else kills you, as it does with five out of every six people diagnosed with the disease. Now, researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine have found a clue: telomere length. A Johns Hopkins news release reports that researchers studied tissue samples from 596 men surgically treated for prostate cancer thought to be confined to the prostate, then used images of prostate cancer cells and nearby cells called stroma,to measure the length of telomeres in the cancer cells and stromal cells. The researchers found that men who had a combination of more variable telomere length among cancer cells and shorter telomere length in stromal cells were more likely to develop metastatic disease and die sooner from their prostate cancer than other men. In fact, the variable telomere and shorter telomere men were 14 times more likely to die of their prostate cancer compared with another group of 98 men whose telomeres had less variable length among cancer cells and were longer in stromal cells. Read more from Johns Hopkins.